Battle of Hogwarts – 15th Anniversary

On May 2, 1998, the Battle of Hogwarts was fought. Each year, Expecto Patronum! honors all the brave men, women, Headmaster portraits, and magical creatures who helped in the fight against Lord Voldemort for the future of the Wizarding World, especially:

  • Harry Potter – who personally faced Lord Voldemort twice that night… and prevailed
  • Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger – who stood beside Harry throughout his Quest and provided much-needed support during the Battle
  • Luna Lovegood – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and helping Harry into Ravenclaw Tower
  • Neville Longbottom – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and slaying Nagini
  • Ginny Weasley – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and giving Harry inspiration
  • The Portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black – for locating Harry in the Forest of Dean
  • Severus Snape – for getting the Sword of Gryffindor to Harry in the Forest of Dean and for using his dying moments to offer the memories that would help Harry to defeat Lord Voldemort
  • The Portrait of Albus Dumbledore – for providing much-needed guidance to Headmaster Snape
  • Aberforth Dumbledore – for helping Harry, the Order, the DA, and many others get in to Hogwarts from the Hog’s Head and for then fighting in the Battle alongside many other citizens of Hogsmeade
  • The Members of the DA, the Order, the Gryffindor alumni, the Slytherins who returned with Slughorn, and the citizens of Hogsmeade – for standing up to fight
  • The Magical Creatures who fought – particularly Kreacher and the House Elves, the Centaurs of the Forbidden Forest, and Grawp
  • Minerva McGonnagall, Horace Slughorn, Filius Flitwick – for leadership during the Battle and for directly battling Voldemort
  • Molly Weasley – for destroying Bellatrix Lestrange
  • Hagrid – for being true of heart
  • Peeves and Trelawney – for their unique contributions

And now, we’d like to honor the fallen heroes:

Severus Snape


Credit: Look… at… me by ~FabiolaCapo

Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks


Credit: Remus x Tonks: Pale and Still by ~Kitoky

Fred Weasley


Credit: the death of Fred by *viria13

Plus Colin Creevey and the 50 or more unnamed dead.

Thank you!


We are celebrating the 15th Anniversary with new fanart. If you have any Battle of Hogwarts fanart that you particularly like, you are encouraged to share it in the Comments thread!

Pottermore, PoA Chapter 7 (what I’ve found so far…)

DISCLAIMER: This is not exactly a live blog and it’s definitely not a Finder’s Guide. It’s what I’ve found so far. There’s also probably some stuff I’m missing. :)

Here’s what I’ve found so far (DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED!)…

CHAPTER 6: THE BOGGART IN THE WARDROBE

Scene 1 (“Riddikulus”)

  • UNLOCK “Boggart” (JKR-Exclusive Content). I especially enjoy the list of famous boggarts.
  • CAST THE RIDDIKULUS SPELL! This is really fun! You can reload the page to get different boggarts. You need to double-click or zoom in to get the Riddikulus spell. Riddikulus is a slow-moving spell, so even most novice spell-casters can probably cast it.
  • Here are the different boggarts:
    • Ghostly-singing lady boggart (Banshee?). Riddikulus makes her face shrivel and robs her of her voice.
    • Ghastly, bloody mummy boggart. Riddikilus splats him on the ground and takes off his head.
    • Severed-hand boggart, which crawls across the floor. Riddikulus immobilizes it… I think.
    • Giant tarantula (or is that acromantula) boggart. Riddikulus makes it shrivel up.
    • Snape-coming-out-of-the-darkened-wardbrobe boggart. Well… you know what Riddikulus does here. ;)

Snape boggart after the spell renders it Riddikulus…

Key to Zoom Levels:
I am using the conventions I’ve seen used elsewhere when discussing Pottermore zoom levels:

  • Zoom 1 = the original zoom level.
  • Zoom 2 = zoom in one level from Zoom 1.
  • Zoom 3 = zoom in two levels from Zoom 1.
  • Zoom OUT 2 = zoom out one level from Zoom 1.
  • Zoom OUT 3 = zoom out two levels from Zoom 1.

Battle of Hogwarts – 14th Anniversary

On May 2, 1998, the Battle of Hogwarts was fought. Each year, Expecto Patronum! honors all the brave men, women, Headmaster portraits, and magical creatures who helped in the fight against Lord Voldemort for the future of the Wizarding World, especially:

  • Harry Potter – who personally faced Lord Voldemort twice that night… and prevailed
  • Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger – who stood beside Harry throughout his Quest and provided much-needed support during the Battle
  • Luna Lovegood – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and helping Harry into Ravenclaw Tower
  • Neville Longbottom – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and slaying Nagini
  • Ginny Weasley – for keeping Dumbledore’s Army alive and giving Harry inspiration
  • The Portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black – for locating Harry in the Forest of Dean
  • Severus Snape – for getting the Sword of Gryffindor to Harry in the Forest of Dean and for using his dying moments to offer the memories that would help Harry to defeat Lord Voldemort
  • The Portrait of Albus Dumbledore – for providing much-needed guidance to Headmaster Snape
  • Aberforth Dumbledore – for helping Harry, the Order, the DA, and many others get in to Hogwarts from the Hog’s Head and for then fighting in the Battle alongside many other citizens of Hogsmeade
  • The Members of the DA, the Order, the Gryffindor alumni, the Slytherins who returned with Slughorn, and the citizens of Hogsmeade – for standing up to fight
  • The Magical Creatures who fought – particularly Kreacher and the House Elves, the Centaurs of the Forbidden Forest, and Grawp
  • Minerva McGonnagall, Horace Slughorn, Filius Flitwick – for leadership during the Battle and for directly battling Voldemort
  • Molly Weasley – for destroying Bellatrix Lestrange
  • Hagrid – for being true of heart
  • Peeves and Trelawney – for their unique contributions

And now, we’d like to honor the fallen heroes:

Severus Snape


Credit: DH: Look at Me by FrizzyHermione

Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks


Credit: SPOILERS_Lupin + Tonks Ending? by ~endoftheline

Fred Weasley

Weasleys mourn Fred's death
Credit: Fredless by ~balmasque

Plus Colin Creevey and the 50 or more unnamed dead.

Thank you!


Pottermore: I’m In! Here’s How…

Well, I didn’t expect to try to get in to Pottermore as a Beta tester. I expected that getting early access would be really difficult, but when I read the Pottermore announcement shortly after midnight July 31 (UK time), I could not help but get caught up in all the excitement.

There wasn’t, as rumored, going to be some crazy round-the-Web scavenger hunt, and there were going to be 7 Days to get in to the Beta test group!

Naturally, I decided to give it a shot. And I decided to give it a shot on Day 1. I mean, how cool would it be to get in on Harry’s birthday – the day Harry got his own letter to Hogwarts?

Preparations

Since I was already hanging out on a fan site, I got a little bit of insider information. I learned that the first clue would be posted sometime after midnight Pacific time (8am in the UK), and that we would need to go to Diagon Alley.

The contest information had already indicated that the first day’s clue would focus on PS/SS. So Diagon Alley was clearly a reference to Chapter 5 in the first book. So of course, I skimmed the chapter and made notes before taking a nap and setting the alarm for 3am (US Eastern). It appeared that we would need to do some sort of calculation, so I particularly noted numbers in the Diagon Alley chapter.

Before taking my nap, I also made sure that I had the address I needed (http://quill.pottermore.com/) already typed in to the address bar on an open tab and that I had a calculator handy for the calculation. I didn’t want to be rushing around in excitement making mistakes if I figured out the clue.

The Clue

The clue didn’t arrive within 20 minutes of 3am, so I went back to sleep and woke up after a Pottermore dream at 4:30am. When I refreshed the Pottermore website, I saw this…

That was one number I had not written down!

But I did know where to find the Eeylops Owl Emporium because I had made a specific note of it. It was one of the first things Harry saw when he entered Diagon Alley! Five. Five breeds of owl. 5 * 49 = 245.

I couldn’t believe it had been so easy! I was pumping adrenalin as I opened up the tab with the address for the quill, typed 245 after the slash, hit Enter, and found myself trying to catch the Magic Quill!!!
(Note for anyone who wants to get into Pottermore: you have to do something with the Magic Quill. What you have to do has been different in each of the three challenges so far. But it is not hard to locate the Magic Quill).

Registration

Everything after that is a bit of a daze. After I clicked on the Magic Quill, I found myself on the registration page, then I saw my name on a list of magical people, and then I found myself having to choose a username. All the while, I was racing against the clock because I needed to get the registration completed before registration closed down for the day! Otherwise, catching the Magic Quill would not have mattered!

Anyway, I received a set of  5 possible usernames. They consisted of random Harry Potter words, coupled with a series of numbers. My choices, compared to a lot of people’s, actually seemed very good. I was ready to select one of the names at the top of the list when I found something in the middle:

AsphodelPhoenix

Seriously?!?!? I could have Asphodel and Phoenix in my username?

Asphodel is one of the ingredients in the very first question Severus Snape ever asks Harry:

“Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?”

(Answer: the Draught of Living Death)

And the Phoenix has been one of my favorite magical beasts since well before a wand with a Phoenix tail feather at the core chose Harry… or before Dumbledore befriended Fawkes or started an Order of the Phoenix!

All of my Top 4 characters are implied in that name. AsphodelPhoenix ties together Snape and Dumbledore, Harry and Riddle, and even (because there’s a plant involved) Neville! Just subtract Riddle from the list, and you know who my absolute favorite Harry Potter characters are!

Well, the choice was obvious, wasn’t it?!? And when I finished the registration process, I received a lovely piece of parchment confirming my name.

I wish I could say that the rest of the process went just as seamlessly, but I was one of the unfortunates who got caught in Yahoo Mail Limbo. It took me nearly 10 hours to get my activation email!

But hey, at least I didn’t have to wait as long as poor Evanna Lynch! (Luna in the Harry Potter movies). It seems that she had to wait about 18 hours!

So now, after recounting my own journey into Pottermore, I have something to pass on that I hope is useful to somebody.

The Numbers and the Books

It’s pretty obvious that the solution to the clue will always be a number, and that the number will be multiplied by something.

On Day 1, we had to multiply the solution by 49. Note that Pottermore is framing the challenge in terms of 7 Books, 7 Days, 7 Chances. 7 Days = 7 Chances, so we don’t really need to consider the final number. However, let’s look at the numbers so far…

Day 1: 7 books, 7 days (7 * 7 = 49)

Day 2: 7 books, 6 days (7 * 6 = 42)

Yes, it’s my understanding that on Day 2, the solution to the clue needed to be multiplied by 42. I predicted this, based on Day 1 using 7 squared. And if the pattern holds true, here are the rest of the numbers:

Day 3: 7 books, 5 days (7 * 5 = 35) – ETA (8/2/01): confirmed. The number was 35.

Day 4: 7 books, 4 days (7 * 4 = 28)

Day 5: 7 books, 3 days (7 * 3 = 21)

Day 6: 7 books, 2 days (7 * 2 = 14)

Day 7: 7 books, 1 day (7 * 1 = 7)

Note also, that on Day 3, the clue will focus on the third book, etc. So here are the remaining books you need to consider for the remaining days of the Beta test challenge:

Day 3: Prisoner of Azkaban

Day 4: Goblet of Fire

Day 5: Order of the Phoenix

Day 6: Half-Blood Prince

Day 7: Deathly Hallows

Pottermore Implications for the Expecto Patronum Blog

Once Beta testing is over and the entire public is allowed in to Pottermore, I will be re-focusing this blog on the Pottermore experience of re-reading the Harry Potter series.

Between now and then, I will re-read (and write about) some random chapters in the series. If anybody has any suggestions for favorite chapters to read, please let me know in the comments!

And with that, I’ll just say “Good luck on gaining early entry!”

Battle of Hogwarts – 13th Anniversary

It is the final week of the term – Finals Week, to be exact – and Expecto Patronum will return next week by re-opening of the Chamber of Secrets. :) I could not, however, pass up an opportunity to write a post commemorating this day.

Today is the 13th Anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts – the day on which 50 brave defenders fell in the seemingly hopeless, but ultimately successful, attempt to wrest control of the Wizarding World from Voldemort and his minions.

Among the fallen – Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Colin Creevey, and Fred Weasley.

Expecto Patronum commemorated the Anniversary last year by celebrating the heroes’ exploits and offering tributes to the fallen.

This year, we have a somewhat more graphic representation… photographs from the scene of the battle (click to see at full-size):

The Castle’s protective spells begin to crumble…

crumbling protective spells at Hogwarts

Professor McGonnagall awakens the armor, admonishing it to defend the castle…

awakened armor

Fiendfyre engulfs the Room of Requirement…

fiendfyre

Lupin and Tonks reach across the chasm…

Lupin and Tonks

Nagini lunges, possibly towards Severus Snape…

the last horcrux

Fred. Gasp. Fred…

will my heart ever stop weeping?

Molly takes care of the Dark Lord’s most loyal psycho…

not my daughter!

As always, Expecto Patronum would like to honor all the brave men, women and magical creatures – mentioned and unmentioned – who fought Lord Voldemort for the future of the Wizarding World.

And, of course, to Harry Potter… the Boy Who Lived. Again.

Thank you!

The Silver Doe

“The Silver Doe” is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Harry Potter series. Here is a short tribute piece that I wrote as part of the Gryffindor entry for the Chamber of Secrets Forum Holiday Calendar:

The Silver Doe
December 26, 1997

“Expecto Patronum” the man whispered, and a bright light burst forth from the tip of his wand, taking the form of a doe.

He had never before seen her illuminate a darkness so profound, and the brilliance of the Patronus recalled to his mind those near-forgotten words from early youth: Et lux in tenebris lucet. The light shines in the darkness.

He gazed on her longingly, wishing he could cling to her light. But this was no time for sentimentality. He had a job to do. And if he failed to do it, an even deeper darkness would descend.

He, a Slytherin, had been entrusted with carrying the Sword of Gryffindor to those who could rightly wield it – the Sword which now lay secure at the bottom of the frozen pool as the Patronus stood before him, awaiting his guidance.

He had a plan, he’d told the portrait, but would the boy follow? Only two days before, word came to him that the great snake had forcefully sunk her fangs into Potter’s arm. Apparently, though, the boy had recovered sufficiently to apparate into these woods – evidence, no doubt, that Miss Granger’s resourcefulness had, as always, served Potter well.

But what of Weasley? Dumbledore – for reasons he had yet fully to apprehend – had faith that Weasley and Granger both were the proper companions to help Potter accomplish whatever task he had been assigned. Perhaps he was correct. Even Longbottom had recently shown the valor for which his House was known, leading an admirable, if ill-fated, raid to steal Gryffindor’s Sword from inside the Headmaster’s office.

He scrutinized the doe’s soft, luminous eyes as moisture filled the rims of his own, and he released her to wander in search of the boy.

***

In happier times – not that any of his times had ever been especially happy – but in times less dire perhaps, he had often spent the night after Christmas lounging in a plush staffroom chair, playing Wizard Chess with Minerva before the fire.

She hated him now. All his old colleagues did. And best that it be so. It would not do for any of them to hesitate in thinking him a murderer, a traitor, a coward. It was their best protection… and his.

And so he stood under a Disillusionment Charm behind the treeline on the night after Christmas – watching and waiting for the boy in the frigid dark.

A Pack of Enchantments

“I don’t know how you found out about the Stone, but rest assured, no one can possibly steal it, it’s too well protected.”


“I suppose you think you’re harder to get past than a pack of enchantments!” she stormed.

Poor Professor McGonnagall. She’s left to guard the castle while Dumbledore’s running off to the Ministry, and now some ickle firsties are claiming that someone’s going to steal the Stone! As much sympathy as I have for the Deputy Headmistress, though, I do find her confidence in the enchantments disturbingly overconfident.

Yes, the Stone is guarded, as Hagrid earlier told the Trio:

“… he borrowed Fluffy from me … then some o’ the teachers did enchantments …. Professor Sprout – Professor Flitwick – Professor McGonnagall -” he ticked them off on his fingers, “Professor Quirrell – an’ Dumbledore himself did somethin’, o’ course. Hang on, I’ve forgotten someone. Oh yeah, Professor Snape.”

But the enchantments will fall… first to a determined thief, and then to a very determined group of 11 and 12 year olds!

So now that we know who is guarding the stone (and it reads largely like a staff roster of House Heads at Hogwarts!), let’s get a brief overview of the how:

  1. Hagrid (Care of Magical Creatures): Fluffy
  2. Professor Sprout (Herbology): Devil’s Snare
  3. Professor Flitwick (Charms): Enchanted Keys
  4. Professor McGonnagall (Transfiguration): Living Chess Pieces
  5. Professor Quirrell (Defense Against the Dark Arts): Troll
  6. Professor Snape (Potions): Logic Puzzle, Potions, Enchanted Fire
  7. Professor Dumbledore (Headmaster): Re-Enchanted Mirror of Erised

Fluffy

As guardian of the trapdoor (and we have discussed the Fluffy/Cerberus connection before), Fluffy should prove a formidable foe. After all, he nearly ripped off the leg of Severus Snape… who wasn’t even trying to steal the Stone!

But perhaps that’s whole point. Fluffy’s presence would dissuade all but the most determined of thieves (or, apparently, the most determined of Gryffindors!). And that is why Snape asked Quirrell if he had figured out how to get past the dog. As Voldemort’s slave, Quirrell does have the determination required. This is a man who made an attempt on the Stone at Gringotts after all! And since the time Snape cornered Quirrell in the Forbidden Forest, Hagrid has rendered Fluffy’s protection null by unknowingly revealing Fluffy’s weak spot to “Quirrellmort.” Consequently, when the Trio arrive at the door to the 3rd floor corridor, an enchanted harp has already played the beast to sleep.

Their reaction to seeing the harp? Predictably: “Snape must have left it there.”

Gryffindor Determination

But the Trio, too, came prepared to play Fluffy to sleep. Harry brought a flute, and that flute proves their salvation when the harp stops playing.

The young Gryffindors’ determination to get through the trapdoor comes not from a desire to steal the Stone but from the desire to prevent Voldemort’s return to power – a determination spearheaded by Harry’s reminder of the threat that he… and Hogwarts… and the Wizarding World as a whole would face if Voldemort returns:

“If Snape gets hold of the Stone, Voldemort’s coming back! Haven’t you heard what it was like when he was trying to take over? There won’t be any Hogwarts to get expelled from! He’ll flatten it, or turn it into a school for the Dark Arts! Losing points doesn’t matter anymore, can’t you see? D’you think he’ll leave you and your families alone if Gryffindor wins the house cup? If I get caught before I can get to the Stone, well, I’ll have to go back to the Dursleys and wait for Voldemort to find me there, it’s only dying a bit later than I would have, because I’m never going over to the Dark Side! I’m going through the trapdoor tonight and nothing you two say is going to stop me! Voldemort killed my parents, remember?”

He glared at them.

“You’re right, Harry,” said Hermione in a small voice.

As DH shows, 6 years later, Harry is quite on target with his analysis of what the return of Voldemort would mean. And this is before he learns about blood prejudice or about the blood prejudice campaign that would also target the likes of Hermione (Muggle-born) and Ron (blood traitor)… and it is well before Harry learns that he himself was the target on the night his parents were killed.

The only thing Harry is substantially wrong about (apart from the Snape bit) is that Voldemort would be able to kill him at the Dursleys. Actually, the Dark Lord can’t. In fact, as we learn much later, Harry is under special blood protection under his aunt’s roof because of his mother’s sacrifice. And this is the reason Dumbledore “inexplicably” keeps sending him back to the Dursleys during school breaks.

Because of the Trio’s determination to stop Voldemort’s return, nothing is going to stop these kids from going through that trapdoor – not Neville (on whom Hermione, regretfully, uses a Petrificus Totalus), not Peeves (on whom Harry tests his best “Bloody Baron” voice), and not Fluffy.

I’ll be back later to discuss, individually, the enchantments created by the House Heads on the other side of the of the trapdoor … and how the Trio overcome them. But this, at least, should get us started on our journey into the bowels of Hogwarts.